Category: Research

Final Idea

Ok, so… I’ve ruled out quite a few of the previous design ideas for various reasons, but I think I have decided that I’m going to create a set of three books that shows the Past, Present and Future of language change.

The Past book will highlight the changes that happened in our history, and how they effected how we use language.

The Present book will show how language is changing currently, new words creeping into our dictionary, abbreviations etc.

The Future book will give a small insight into how we MIGHT use our language, obviously this can’t be definite, but I will show example that language will change again.

Each of these will be bound in a small book form, perhaps A5 or A6, but they will somehow fit together to form one book, perhaps a little folder, or a wrap around cover for them all. This is where I am at with my research. Getting there slowly!

Language is my whore, my mistress, my wife, my pen-friend, my check-out girl. Language is a complimentary moist lemon-scented cleansing square or handy freshen-up wipette. Language is the breath of God, the dew on a fresh apple, it’s the soft rain of dust that falls into a shaft of morning sun when you pull from an old bookshelf a forgotten volume of erotic diaries; language is the faint scent of urine on a pair of boxer shorts, it’s a half-remembered childhood birthday party, a creak on the stair, a spluttering match held to a frosted pane, the warm wet, trusting touch of a leaking nappy, the hulk of a charred Panzer, the underside of a granite boulder, the first downy growth on the upper lip of a Mediterranean girl, cobwebs long since overrun by an old Wellington boot.

– Stephen Fry

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I interviewed 3 different linguists from Sheffield Hallam University last week, and I got some interesting opinions that have really helped my research. The questions I asked them were as follows:

  • What is you specialist area within linguistics?
  • Do you think grammar and punctuation is important to the general public anymore?
  • Some people say that grammar and language is declining, how do yo feel about that?
  • Do yo think a campaign promoting ‘correct grammar’ would be effective on the general public? Why?

I first asked these questions to  Dr Jodie Clark, who had a lot to say on the subject, but the main points I got from here were:

Prescriptive views are very opinionated and perhaps not what everyone feels.
Descriptivist views are more what linguists feel -that all form of grammar are correct.

People find grammar important on two levels; real purists who know all about it and maintain the rules, ad the people who notice it unconsciously and judge others on their grammar without noticing.

Language doesn’t decline, it changes and is always changing

you can be at risk of looking unintelligent because of social reality and judgement

punctuation and knowingly using it correctly is not too different from anyone else knowing a lot about their own specialist subject – it is not something that everyone NEEDS to know anymore.


The second interview I did was with Professor Sara Mills, these were the main points I took from her knowledge:

The public view of grammar is extremely different from a linguists point of view.

There is this idea of a ‘fixed grammar’ or traditional grammar, that purists seem to stick to.

Punctuation is important, but not for the reasons most people think.

Language standards have risen within language courses,  this may be because of this prescriptive view that is being idolised.

could we survive without grammar? and interesting point to look into.


My final interview was with Dr Barbara McMahon, and this is what I took away from our chat:

Language changes naturally, and no one seems to notice this so they think it ‘s declining

Linguists try hard to say that ‘all forms of language (including grammar) are correct’

Trying to make people believe there is no ‘correct grammar’ might be difficult

it is deeply engrained into people that there is a ‘right ad wrong’ language.


All of these points will help me with my research, along with the questionnaire I have done, they will provide resources for me to draw from to make a great design project.